MONDAY, Aug. 21, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Breastfeeding for at least six months may reduce some maternal cardiovascular risk factors in women three years postpartum, according to a study published online July 19 in the International Breastfeeding Journal.
Maleesa M. Pathirana, Ph.D., from University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues used three-year follow-up data from 160 women-child dyads participating in the Screening Tests to Predict Poor Outcomes of Pregnancy study. Differences in cardiometabolic health were compared between mothers who breastfed for at least six months and their children versus those who did not.
The researchers found that women who breastfed for at least six months had significantly lower maternal body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (BP), diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure, central systolic BP, and central diastolic BP versus those who did not. Results were similar even after adjusting for BMI and socioeconomic index in early pregnancy, prenatal smoking, and maternal age in early pregnancy. Significantly lower maternal systolic and diastolic BPs, serum insulin and triglycerides, and higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were seen among women who had one or more pregnancy complications during the index pregnancy (i.e., preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, delivery of a small-for-gestational-age infant, delivery of a preterm infant, and/or gestational diabetes mellitus) and who breastfed for at least six months. Anthropometric and hemodynamic variables were similar among children regardless of breastfeeding duration.
“It may be beneficial to provide interventions that support breastfeeding in disadvantaged women with pregnancy complications to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease,” the authors write.
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